The gates installed at the entrance to Dunnes Stores, Grafton Street

A HOMELESSNESS activist group have expressed their anger at the gates recently installed outside Dunnes Stores on Grafton Street, which they believe is to prevent homeless people from sleeping there. .
Cairdeas Homeless Action Group, along with a similar body, regularly uses the space outside the premises so they can operate soup kitchens during the evenings.
Cairdeas also offer hot food, tents, bedding and warm clothes to the homeless people across the capital throughout the year.
Lindi Cahill, Cairdeas’s founder, said that the space outside Dunnes Stores is ideal for them as it is large enough to fit in extra tables to cope with growing demand, while allowing volunteers to keep their equipment secure.
She added that following the erection of the gates, they are unable to continue their work there.
In a statement on Facebook, the group said: “These people [the homeless] are the most vulnerable in our society and already are struggling to cope on a day to day basis. If our services are removed they are left with nothing.
“Two soup kitchens operate out of there. One being ourselves and another being [a] mobile homeless run.
“We had no forewarning or courtesy call to explain what was happening, and the reasons why.”
In response, Cairdeas staged a protest outside the Grafton Street premises last Friday night, vowing to “stand together and show them they have a fight on their hands”.
Although the group received some positive feedback online, others stood by Dunnes Stores’s move to erect the gates outside their premises.
On social media, one person said: “It’s a shop doorway not a shelter. It’s very unpleasant when staff have to come in and open up the shop and move people on … why is it a crime to protect your property?”
Another wrote: “People make their living from working there and homeless people sleeping in the doorway will put people off going in, which affects the business and the people working there.”
The Gazette contacted Dunnes Stores about the addition of the gates, and their possible impact on soup kitchen services operating from outside the premises.
The company had no comment to make by the time of going to print.